Thursday, February 19, 2015

Foster care and education

Everyone knows that kids in foster care have a harder time in school. They tend to fall behind academically. Trauma makes it nearly impossible for information learned to transfer to long-term memory.

I would like to bring up the realities of The System though. Foster care is part of the problem itself.

Captain was removed from his family on January 22. The social workers literally told me they didn't think he attended any school while placed with the relative he went to immediately upon removal. They didn't do anything about it at the time either. I honestly don't know what happened, but that relative placement fell through and Captain came to me on the evening of the 26th.

I couldn't put Captain in school immediately. I needed paperwork. I also had several appointments that had to be taken care of. Granted, some of these appointments were rather important. I understand. But the quantity of appointments does lend itself to explaining why kids have so many problems with every move.

I was going to start Captain in school on the 29th but was instead informed that he had to be interviewed at a child advocacy center that morning instead. I was able to enroll and start Captain on the 30th. That was six days out of school from when the "incident" happened.

On February 2nd I was required to bring the cherubs to the doctor because when the State took them on the 26th they didn't do a vision test, hearing test, lead test, or TB test. Another day of school missed.

On February 5th, Captain missed school because he was required to attend court.

On February 10th, Captain missed another day because of the required dentist appointment. He also missed the following day so he could participate in a psychological evaluation.

And today I was just informed that Captain is now required to attend a Family Group Conference with his bio family and all of his siblings next week. CPS assures me that he only has to stay for the "Hopes and Dreams" segment of the meeting. They scheduled it for 8:30am though so Captain will be missing another day of school. I'm quite confident that this meeting is going to be quite traumatic as it's not a "visit" but he'll see his entire family.

And let's not forget...therapy for Captain is starting March 4th and his appointment is scheduled for Noon. I have a feeling he'll have to miss some school (a partial day anyway) every two weeks for therapy.

And no, visits haven't started yet. Somehow those have to get factored into his schedule as well. The judge ordered two 2-hour visits a week with Wendy (bio mom) and two 2-hour separate visits with Schmee (bio dad). I have no idea how it's all going to work.

Foster care keeps kids crazy busy. Not only do they miss school. But they also lose time where they could play and just be KIDS. I'm doing my best to help Captain acclimate to his new life. But I know this has been a serious shock to his system!


Alethea said...

We work like crazy to limit FS11's appointments during school hours (he's only been pulled out of school 3 times this year for appointments). But it means he gets NO time to play, since he gets home at 4pm and has some kind of art therapy, mobile therapy, social worker visit, sibling visit, etc. 4 afternoons a week. Plus fitting in homework, chores, bathing. He gets maybe 1-1.5 hours of actual "free" time on the average day.

girlfrog2003 said...

That's a crazy visit schedule... maybe they could make them 2 days a week back to back. Or would that be worse?

I wouldn't worry about the week missed after removal. Heck my daughter missed a week of school when her grandfather died. He probably wasn't in a place where much learning would have happened anyway. Constantly missing days and partial days would be more concerning to me - can't ever get into a good routine.

I know you live in a place where services are not readily available but maybe when they try to schedule dr, therapy, etc. just say matter of factly I need an appointment after "x" time. Or my favorite "What's your earliest or latest appointment". See what you get.

Bringing babies to court and service plan meetings is ridiculous, but you gotta do what you gotta do there.

I guess just do the best you can to create a structure and routine for all of them.

Cherub Mamma said...

I'm hoping the visits are only two days with visits back to back. However, in order for that to happen, Captain will have to be pulled from school early. Visits would have to run from 3-5 and 5-7. I'd have to pull him from school early at 2:30 (school gets out at 3:00 and the latest you can pull someone is 2:30). I'd actually like to see visits one day (preferably Tuesdays) during the week and then two more visits on Saturday. But that's my dream land. I'm at the mercy of the 3rd party supervising company.

As for doctors and therapy - Noon is the earliest for therapy and I'd just as soon have the first appointment vs. having to potentially wait and wait for appointments later in the day. Odds are they will run behind schedule like EVERYTHING else where I live.

And thankfully we're done with all the medical appointments. But future ones are best taken first thing in the morning to minimize extra waiting - which means missing a day of school. If the kids aren't there at 10:00am...they are counted absent no matter what. And I think it's rather disruptive to have him come back for just an hour or two in the afternoon anyway.

VJ said...

Yes, some birth parents gets charged with neglect because their kids are truant, and yet the state can't get charged for educational neglect? They force truancy on foster kids. Our respite placement, Flower, is 9 years old and completely illiterate. She could not pick her name out of a list of kids' names. She was at a residential treatment facility where they had her all day, every day, but education was not at all a priority. And no, she isn't incapable of reading - that girl can work an iPad better than I can. It's things like this that make me wonder how long we will be able to foster because I get SO MAD about how the system treats these kids!

Annie said...

I wouldn't worry about the transition time (well - I'd WORRY about much better if he'd been in school and able to concentrate on it) but I think that kind of traumatic moving, and ending up with strangers (nice ones, but you know what I mean) would render school and everything that happens there pretty unimportant.

You are SO right, though - and the other thing that foster care does it completely ignore the child's "hopes and dreams" (to use their term, gag) but even their dignity.

Maxim who, like a lot of HS boys, wanted to play sports was REQUIRED to go to counseling, and he was required to use a specific counselor (an obviously gay man) and that appointment was required to be after school - during basketball practice. Well, in HS missing practice is HUGE. You don't do it unless you are near death - so how was he to explain that? this boy who was desperate to appear "normal".

And then, there were required visits from his "worker" and if it fit her schedule better, instead of coming to our house, she'd pull him out of class. Humiliating in the extreme...and then she's be angry he didn't want to talk to the hallway outside of class, where everyone walking by would wonder and try to overhear.

It is all just so ridiculous sometimes. Poor kid. That family session sounds like they are TRYING to traumatize him.

Annie said...

Speaking of forced truancy - when we met Maxim he was in a Psychiatric hospital, where he had been for four month. Four months, when they had judged the day after he got there that it was not where he belonged, that under the circumstances his feelings and behaviors were understandable. (I have all the paperwork from the place.)

However, because they didn't know where to put him, and his family refuse to get him, there he sat....An eighth grader and no school, nothing at all - for over five months by the time we got him out of there.

shelbel456 said...

Even once if you adopt them they still miss school to go to therapy get meds done appointments are endless because the trama they recived me and hubby were talking we need tutor for a couple of them they are smart but just extreme neglect :(